Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges the world faces today. Its basic mechanics are well understood – the earth is warming, mainly due to greenhouse gas emissions generated by humans, with potentially damaging consequences. The challenge is to take effective action to address the issue.
The gross (location-based) emissions from M&S global operations in 2015/16 were 566,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Down 23% against the 732,000 tonnes from when we first started to measure it in 2006/07.
Some companies have recently moved to only report a market-based or 'hybrid' calculation of CO2e emissions which allows deductions for use of renewable energy, and using this approach, M&S emissions were 266,000 tonnes or down by 64% against 2006/07.
In addition, at M&S we go even further by offsetting those remaining emissions to give zero net emissions, known as carbon neutrality. We are the only major retailer in the world to do this. Zero net emissions exceeds the requirements of Science Based Targets which are designed to keep global warming below 2 degrees.
But we know that our carbon impact goes beyond our operations. Once our supply chains, business partners and customers activities are added to the calculation our total footprint is around 8 million tonnes of CO2e.
Commitments and targets
We support the introduction of a strong, legally binding global agreement that will provide the long-term certainty we need in order to make major investment decisions about how best to reconfigure our business model to a low carbon one.
Climate change has always been a Plan A priority, with many commitments related to the issue. At launch, we committed to make our operations worldwide carbon neutral, and achieved this by 2014. We believe we're still the only major retailer in the world to do so.
We’re still working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our business and through collaboration, in our supply chain too.
We’re taking action on climate change across our entire value chain. Our carbon footprinting analysis has highlighted the need to focus not only on our stores and logistics, but also on reducing emissions from our supply chain and from several of the basic activities our customers use our products for, including cooking and disposal of food, and washing and drying clothes.
We need to reduce our carbon footprint by avoiding emissions in the first place, reducing those that are unavoidable, and switching to lower carbon technologies. Lastly, we also need to compensate for unavoidable or residual emissions.
It’s clear that our climate is already changing, and our business needs to be able to cope with extreme weather events. We believe forward planning is key to minimising the threats and maximising the opportunities created by evolving climate impacts.
Our approach to climate change focuses on: